As Ford’s ancient Crown Victoria is no longer available for order, the California Highway Patrol had to test out a whole new crop of cars.  The Big Three tested out the:  Chevrolet Caprice PPV, Dodge Charger Pursuit/Interceptor, and Ford Police Interceptor Sedan (Taurus-based).  They also tested out the Ford Police Interceptor Utility (Explorer-based) and the Chevrolet Tahoe PPV.  There is one potentially troubling sign for the Big Three sedans:  payload.  The beefy Ford Police Interceptor Sedan can hold a pretty hefty 1200 pounds, but the CHP needs a payload of at least 1700 pounds.  That’s pretty heavy.  The legendary Crown Vic could hold closer to 2000, but it’s not being produced anymore.  It came down to the Ford Police Interceptor Utility and the Chevrolet Tahoe PPV.  The Dodge Durango Special Service arrived a bit too late in the game, and wasn’t considered anyways because it didn’t have a “Pursuit” rating.  Too bad.

A CHP rep said that officers are split 60% in favor of sedans, and 40% are in favor of the SUVs.  But, the Ford Police Interceptor Utility is pretty fun to drive, and may help change the balance.  The CHP picked the Ford Police Interceptor Utility due to a lower bid than Chevrolet.  The CHP may buy a few of the sedans for executive purposes or display vehicles, but you’d better get comfortable knowing what Ford Explorer headlights look like.

This is a big win for Ford.  It’s quite obvious that the Ford Police Interceptor Utility is based on the Explorer, but Ford says that it is purpose-built.  Ford has done many upgrades:  heavy-duty brake, electrical, and cooling systems have been added to cope with all the needs of police work.  Since police officers need to have a laptop, radio, and other electrical gear, Ford has added a special column shifter so there can be room for that stuff.  There are even special seats for police officers that have cutouts for their utility belts (many officers complain about massive back pain in the Crown Victoria).  Since the Explorer (in all variants) comes in front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, the CHP has asked Ford to build the vehicles in all-wheel-drive form.  The 3.7 liter V6 from the Mustang has been added for a variety of reasons:  not only is it more powerful than the standard engine, it gets better fuel economy, it sounds better, and it should have been in the Explorer in the first place.  The 3.7 liter engine has 304 horsepower and 24 more lb-ft of torque.  That’s enough to keep the big-boned Explorer at it’s top speed of 135 mph for a long time.

Californians have almost six months to get familiar with Explorer headlights, as they will begin staring into your car by January 2013.  But, remember what Crown Victoria headlights look like because the CHP had ordered 329 before production ended.  It’s also not a bad idea to find out what the Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS P motorcycle looks like, as there are now 400 of them throughout the state, helping to phase out the ancient BMW R1200 RTP.

I’ve attached the link for those curious enough to find out what Ford has to say about their big win.

4 thoughts on “The CHP’s New Donut Holder!

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